Meet the Team
Rebecca Massie: Founder
I am a mental health activist, peer-provider, writer, and public speaker from San Francisco. I come to each of these positions after many years as a patient in the mental health system. My experiences as a patient allow for me to help others feel less alone as they navigate the mental health system.
I founded Better Because Collective because of the many stories I had heard of how people were able to better their lives through the skills they learned throughout their mental health journeys. I searched for an online community where I could immerse myself in these stories but, to my surprise, was unable to find anything like this. It was clear to me that people not only needed to share their own stories, but that they needed to read the stories of others in order to help one another grow and heal.
So, I created a platform for people to share, celebrate, and learn from personal stories of post-traumatic growth. My hope is that Better Because Collective will help individuals in the midst of mental health experiences to find hope, and that it will serve as a teaching tool for mental health practitioners as they learn about post-traumatic growth.
Donna Potts-McKenzie: HR Director
I am a fun-loving, sports fanatic, especially, soccer/football originally from Newark, New Jersey. My DNA consists of a long line of educators and civil rights activists. I combined my education and DNA background and chose a career path as a Human Resources professional. My career has allowed me to develop relationships with a very diverse network of people who have shared a multitude of life experiences.
I joined the Better Because Collective because I believe I have a greater purpose. I wanted to find a way to give back in a manner that has more meaning and can have even a greater impact on people’s lives. Additionally, my family and community are not unique in that many of us have experienced mental health challenges and trauma. Through working with Better Because Collective I aim to learn more about how to support individuals- including myself- in being heard, seen, and valued while taking care of ourselves to achieve the well-being we all deserve.
Jade Dumoulin: Editor in Chief
I’m a young poet, storyteller, and lover of words. I recently graduated from Salve Regina University with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. My extensive experience in essay-tutoring and creative workshopping has shaped my passion for editing and publishing.
I joined the Better Because Collective because I believe that overcoming and growing from trauma is a metamorphosis – and often the chrysalis opens up as we do, once the story is told. Better Because Collective illustrates the idea that empathy creates vitality. I am able to use my understanding of language and writing to help others tell their stories, and in doing so, to create a more empathetic and kind world.
Heather Austin: Editor/Submissions Manager
I’m an inquisitive, open-minded, and easy-going Floridian who has called the beautiful country of Turkey “home” for nearly a decade. I feel extremely lucky to have found my dream career: teaching English as a foreign language. Having also traveled to 19 countries, my unique background allows me to view the lived experiences of others through a different lens and interpret them in a meaningful way. With a Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics and a fascination with language, I understand the power of words and – thanks to my own experiences with mental wellness – how important they are in the healing process.
There is undeniable value in being heard and sharing one’s own experience of personal growth. I joined the Better Because Collective to assist and support others in developing their stories in their own words, and, just as importantly, to help overcome the stigma surrounding mental health.
K’Lah Yamada: Editor
I am an avid reader and listener of stories, with a passion for discovering and learning about new perspectives. I recently graduated with a MA in comparative literature and have just moved back home to Colorado with my two dogs.
I joined the Better Because Collective, because I truly believe that storytelling can provide powerful and life-changing experiences for the speaker as well as for those reading and listening to the stories. I am excited to work with contributors in their journey of narrating their experiences and their continued growth.
Maitri Kamdar: Communications Strategist
I’m a creative strategist and brand developer by profession and an optimistic and empathetic person by heart. Growing up in the United Arab Emirates and India has given me a cultural mindset that allows me to offer new perspectives to others – filling their lives with color. I’m passionate about joining hands with people through cultures, intentions, and causes, and I employ my content creation and communication strategies to build a more connected world around me.
Being the daughter of a personal recovery champion, I have witnessed the journey to mental wellness firsthand. Through the Better Because Collective, I’m able to raise awareness for a platform that encourages a positive outlook through conversations on mental wellness. It is my job to build a safe space for people to tell their stories and foster an attitude of hope and growth in their journey ahead, together.
Aileen Wang: Social Media Manager
I’m a data-driven digital marketer based in San Francisco. Motivated by an increasingly technological world, my personal mission is to bridge the gap and create genuine connections between humans. Through the power of social media, I hope to create a future that is more compassionate and less complicated.
Through the Better Because Collective, I’m able to help others find a safe, inclusive space to share their struggles with mental health and traumatic experiences. As I work to elevate each individual’s story, I hope that others will find support and solace in the triumphs of one another.
Gabrielle Joyce: Story Publisher
I am a remote software developer who’s part Pennsylvanian resident part nomad. I apply my technical knowledge as well as my previous teaching experience to connect with my physical and virtual community. As a suicide loss survivor, I know the confusion of grief and anger. Healing is a continuous process and something everyone is experiencing in various degrees. We can unite around that shared experience and others to support and acknowledge one another’s individual needs. I believe in the Better Because Collective’s mission to push against the stigma of mental illness.
Alix Field: WordPress Developer
I’m a freelance software developer who currently lives in Albuquerque, NM. I was looking for freelance positions when I discovered Better Because Collective. I have suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life and this organization spoke to me in a positive way. Most mental health forums are filled with grief-stricken people who believe sharing only the painful parts of their journey will help with the constant feelings of alienation and loneliness. Better Because Collective is a collection of personal stories describing what people have learned from their mental health issues and using those experiences to gain hope and success. I personally take comfort in hope and want to give to an organization that helps encourage people like me to fight the good fight. So, here I am, coding to the best of my ability to make these victorious stories available to the world.